Workout of the Day:
“Nancy”

Five rounds for time of:
400 Meter Run
15 Overhead Squats, 95/65 lbs.

Natalie Woolfolk - Olympian and Sage's sister-in-law
Natalie Woolfolk - Olympian and Sage's sister-in-law

The Importance of Overhead Squats
Written by Sage Burgener 

Overhead squats are the one exercise that can really haunt us in our sleep. At first we think, “How hard can it be?” placing something as light as a PVC pipe or broomstick over our head and squatting down. No problem, right? But as the pools of sweat start to form at our feet after about five reps, we quickly realize that the seemingly simple movement can actually reveal our biggest weaknesses.

By doing one overhead squat you can tell how flexible your shoulders, ankles, hips and calves are. First off, if you cannot place the bar directly overhead while pushing your shoulders up into your ears without the bar coming forward, we know you have problems with shoulder mobility. Second, if your back is rounding as you descend into the bottom of the squat and you are unable to keep your chest up, we know your hips are tight. Third, if your heels come off the ground as you lower your body down into a squat, then we know you have issues with ankle and calf flexibility. But don’t worry, all of these things can be fixed! How? By doing even more overhead squats! Doing overhead squats with the bar (or PVC) directly overhead, your shoulders shrugged, your heels on the ground, and your chest up for multiple repetitions is the best way to loosen up those tight muscles and the best way to get them in the positions they need to be in.

Aside from improving flexibility, overhead squats have other benefits as well. As your technique and flexibility improves and you are able to put a little weight on the bar, overhead squats are GREAT for strengthening your overhead position. And because it is critical to stay tight and stabilize the weight overhead as you squat your body down, the movement is extremely beneficial for strengthening the core. With a strong overhead squat position and a strong core comes a strong receiving position for the snatch. And that is what us Olympic weightlifting Crossfitters are after!

So, if you are having flexibility issues and you want to improve your functional strength, overhead squat, overhead squat, and overhead squat! Even if it is with a PVC pipe, I guarantee that just doing the movement will benefit you in the long run. By doing 50,40, even 30 overhead squats a day you will see a significant difference in your flexibility. Remember, you don’t have to pump these reps out as fast as you can. Slow the movement down and stay in the bottom of the squat to stretch everything out.  If you feel the burn and endure the pain, success will come! 

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POS
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POS

Thanks Sage!

Made up Monday’s WOD, What a butt kicker. 8 rounds scaled. I need me an Invictus shot! I have to agree that I think the OHS is such a great exercise.

Kelly
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Kelly

Today was the second time I did the “Nancy” workout. I improved my time by 3:45. I guess all of the hard work is paying off! Maybe next time I’ll hit the prescribed weight too :).
Michelle I tried the orange shot this morning because there weren’t anymore apple cinnamon, I was equally impressed mmmmgood.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Hey, I understood what Calvin wrote! (No habla Latin)

Calvin Sun
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Calvin Sun

Great post Sage. As a coach, the OHS is indispensable to me as both a diagnostic tool and an exercise. Time can be limited in a training session, using the OHS allows me to quickly assess the bilateral mobility of the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, as well as the thoracic spine. Although, I think you get the greatest benefit from using the OHS as an exercise.

courtland creekmore
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courtland creekmore

CJ and Sage,
Question: At the complete bottom phase on the OHS, by how much are the knees tracking forward beyond the toes?

Sage Burgener
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Sage Burgener

CJ- you are totally right.. if the flexibility issues are severe, you HAVE to do as many other things as you can to get those problems fixed. I guess what I should have said is to do those stretches in conjunction with overhead squats and your bound to see results. thanks! POS- it depends on what the problem is, but since i teach the Burgener warm up first to all of my clients, I have them overhead squatting before I have them air squatting. If the problem is that they can not get down far enough in the air squat,… Read more »

courtland creekmore
Member
courtland creekmore

I just got sick reading what the WOD is today. I cannot imagine doing 75 OHS with anything heavier than a section of PVC. See you at 5:30…ugh.

Dani
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Dani

I have a love hate relationship with the OHS. Love them because I know how beneficial they are – hate them cause they kick my booty every time. Great to see Lori today. Welcome to CFI girl. So happy to have you. I have to give a shout out to the Masterful Mmmm Good Queen. I did a little budget shuffling and decided to spend less money on groceries (I buy a ton of food and then it rots in my fridge) and use that money for Mmmm Good breakfasts and dinners. Totally worth it. I have saved a ton… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

CFI gets some Affiliate Blog love today on the main website!

I got to see Josh in action this morning…..HOLY CRAP! Backward (reverse?) double-unders that were effortless and big box jumps with a kettlebell in EACH HAND were just a few of his moves. Truly lovely to watch.

So nice to see that Lori is finally with us at CFI!!!! Hope you can hit up a 6 a.m. class with us soon.

POS
Guest
POS

Sage or CJ, What say you about when to begin with the OHS? Would you not start it until an athlete has a fairly solid air squat or would you allow them to OHS without a solid air squat?

FAQ - Workout of the Day (WOD)

What does WOD mean in CrossFit?

WOD stands for Workout of the Day. Most CrossFit gyms post one workout each day for their members and online followers to complete. Invictus currently offers THREE free programmed WODs each day (shown above)... and even more personalized and online supplemental programs through Invictus Athlete.

Which program is right for me? Can I move between them?

One thing that sets Invictus apart from other CrossFit gyms and online training programs is that we recognize everyone has different fitness goals, abilities and needs. Be sure to pick which programming is right for you so you can get a great workout that meets your needs.

What does 30X0 mean? (How to read the WOD)

Another thing you might notice that’s different about our programming is that we use ‘tempo training’ - almost always in the Fitness programming and in various cycles for the Performance and Competition programs. Those extra numbers (ex: @30X0) might seem confusing at first glance but you’ll totally get how it works and why we like to use it after reading this. Trust us, you’ll soon witness the many benefits firsthand. Learn more about tempo training.

I need help with some standard movements and warm-up ideas!

Whether you’re new to CrossFit or have lots of experience with the WOD, our coaches will help you get the most out of every workout. It doesn’t matter if you struggle with a particular movement or if your goals are pushing you toward the higher skilled and more elusive movements, our professional coaches support everyone with advice and feedback.

They have worked with all athlete levels and know what it takes to get people moving to the best of their abilities. Whether it’s burpees, double-unders, muscle-ups, or tips for the Assault Bike - we’ve got a coach who can help you.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your warm-ups covered, too. Our coaches are constantly learning from other modalities and love to use what they learn in innovative warm-ups focused on both preparing for the workout at hand and maintaining the body for a pain free life. Check out this full body routine to keep your joints functioning and free of inflammation. We also post warm-up suggestions in the Workout of the Day for each of the programs that are tailored to that day’s movements.

Workout on your own and don’t have much time for your warm-up? Here’s a couple of quick and simple ones for your shoulders, squat day, deadlifts, and everyone’s problem area, the thoracic spine.

What if I can’t lift the weight or do the movement as prescribed?

Scaling is part of the beauty of CrossFit because it enables workouts and programming to be tailored to anyone’s ability. When it comes to weight, you can and should ALWAYS scale the weight down if it is unsafe for you to lift it, or if it changes the intended stimulus of the workout.

Here are some rules of thumb for scaling weight in metcons (lifting for time). For gymnastics movements, there are some simple scaling solutions as well. If you are unsure, reach out to your Invictus coach! We are here to make sure you get the safest and best workout possible - proper scaling allows for that.

How many days per week should I train? / How many rest days should I take?

At Invictus, we offer programming 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday and we realize not everyone’s schedule - or training needs - are the same and therefore, you must use your best judgement and listen to your body when it comes to deciding how often to take a rest day.

If you have been doing CrossFit for a while now, you recognize that our program excels due to the high intensity component. With that being said, one thing you have to keep in mind is that you can’t sustain that high intensity every single day; otherwise your body ends up breaking down.

You can learn more about how often someone should take a rest day in this article.

What does EMOM stand for?

EMOM stands for Every Minute on the Minute. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does AMRAP mean?

AMRAP means “As Many Rounds (and Reps) as Possible” in a certain time period. For example, the workout might say...

AMRAP in 10 minutes of:

30 Double-Unders
20 Pull-Ups
10 Thrusters

So you would keep going through the cycle of those three exercises until the 10 minutes is up. Your score is the number of complete rounds plus any extra reps you did. So if you did four complete rounds plus 15 Double-Unders in the fifth round, your score would be 4+15.

What does OTM mean?

OTM stands for “On the Minute” and is the same thing as an EMOM. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does NFT mean?

NFT stands for “Not for Time” and means that you shouldn’t rush or try to go fast, but instead, focus on technique, skill, form or whatever you are working on for that movement.

How heavy should my first set be?

You might also be wondering where to start your first set if, for example, the workout of the day calls for 5 sets of Deadlift x 5 reps. Is the first set a warm-up or is that the first working set? Here’s our recommendation for how to properly build to your starting weight and what we consider warm-up sets and working sets.

How can I figure out my 1RM?

We frequently use percentage references in prescribing the number of reps to perform, so it’s essential that you have a good idea on most of your maxes.

Let’s say it’s been awhile since you have attempted a 1RM; maybe you had an injury a few months ago, or maybe you just somehow keep missing the 1-RM test days, or maybe you just forgot to write it down in your log book. If you have a multiple-rep max, you’re in luck. There’s actually a simple equation you can use to calculate an estimated 1RM based on the max number of reps you can do at a given weight.